Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am trying to install the spanish dictionary for ispell, espa~nol 1.11. The most up-to-date source I was able to find is from the ispanish package at

My sequence of steps is as follows:

1) Download source, expand and go to the directory.

2) In the terminal, sudo make. Everything goes smoothly, without errors, but the resulting espa~nol.hash file is 13.1 MB, as opposed to the 3.9 MB that the README says it should be. From the README file:

The size of the spanish dictionary (espa~nol.hash) is 3.9Mbytes (Solaris 2.7 has this problem). If you get a size much bigger,probably it is due to the sort command of the operating system. In this case we recommend to install the textutils package of GNU and be sure that the sort command that you use is the textutils one.

I figure I can live with a sub-optimal dictionary size, so I carry on with the install with:

3) sudo make install which puts the resulting .hash and .aff files in /usr/local/lib, along with the american and english hashes and affixes;

4) I start Emacs, attempt to change the dictionary (M-x ispell-change-dictionary) and my new language dictionary does not show in the list.

5) I dive into the ispell customizations and find that the dictionaries are placed where ispell should find them, so no surprises there. In an old ispell changelog i find that it will only recognize valid dictionaries. I am running the latest version if ispell.

6) I revisit the dictionary compilation by going into the Makefile and find nothing that will point me to the sort options, assuming that I somehow screwed up the compilation and that the dictionary is not valid.

I am at a loss right now. The dictionary seems to be actively maintained, so I assume that it works for others, yet I have not been able to get it to work. Am I missing something?

I'm running OS X 10.6.8, GNU Emacs 23.3.1 (x86_64-apple-darwin, NS apple-appkit-1038.35) of 2011-03-09 on, Ispell 3.3.02.

share|improve this question
It's been a while since this was posted. Are bumps appropriate? – Ricardo Apr 27 '12 at 15:01
Have you checked the permissions of the dictionary file? Are they the same as for the other dicts? – terdon Aug 16 '12 at 14:19
All the permissions are the same. – Ricardo Aug 16 '12 at 22:12

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.